Museum Studies in Motion Winter 2013
Be at the center of things.
Volume 5, Issue 2
NEWSLETTER OF THE MUSEUM STUDIES PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE
Museum Studies students help the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society catalog and rehouse collections A van loaded with gloves, dust masks, marking kits, laptops and extension cords, cameras, and a HEPA vacuum and a team of graduate students (from fields such as History and Historic Preservation) served as our special weapons and tactics team. Our destination: the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society. Located in Vineland, New Jersey, VHAS is the oldest local historical society in the state. Founded in 1864, VHAS is notable as a “collection of collections” representing a wide range of the community’s citizens and their activities including the creation of the city; the glass industry; the medical community; Vineland’s schools; local politics; citizens’ travel and leisure interests; and the history of everyday home life. Walking into the building we were all amazed at the tremendous size of the society's collection. Our team jumped in and got right to work organizing, rehousing, and cataloging the collections. For two weeks in January, they worked hard to complete their mission. Our grad students were divided into teams, each team had a designated team leader, and students rotated between projects over the course of two weeks. Our Bookland Team, led by Kelsey Ransick (pictured with Jodi Frederikson), had the task of taking inventory and assessing the book collection. They used colored paper to label books and put them into three piles: discard, keep, consider, and each book was entered into an Excel spreadsheet. In all, the Bookland Team inventoried 4, 650 books. Our Andrews Room Team, led by Lee Roueche, photographed, marked, and catalouged 275 objects. Our Textile cont'd on pg. 4
Likes, Tweets, Tags & Pins: Social Media for Small Museums In the digital age of smartphones, apps, and iPads, museums are using social media for a variety of creative tasks - whether they are bringing historical characters to life on twitter, creating digital walking tours, or sharing collections using Flickr. On January 28th and February 11th, Rebecca Lawrence, Museum Educator at Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center, and Melissa Jay, Coordinator of Education and Outreach Programs at the Mercer Museum & Library, ran a two-part workshop which introduced a group of museum professionals to a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare, and Pinterest (just to name a few).
In this issue... SWAT 2013, pg. 1,4
Director's Message, pg. 2
Alumni Profile, pg. 3
Small Museum Association, pg. 5
Recent News & Upcoming Events, pg. 6
mask and receipts.) I love listening in on the active problem solving that goes on every hour of every day onsite. And I love working with the collections myself. It’s great passing on what I know about material culture while we vacuum, KATHERINE GRIER, PHD rehouse, number and photograph. (“No, that’s firstname.lastname@example.org not a soup tureen, it’s a chamber pot that still has its unbroken lid, which is rare….) Kasey with Patt Martinelli, VHAS Curator
For the past four years, I have worked side-byside with students on the Collections SWAT Teams in Odessa, Laurel, and Yorklyn, Delaware, and in Vineland, New Jersey. The Collections SWAT experience has evolved a great deal since our first “proof-of-concept” project in the Delaware history collection of the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library in Odessa. Three things remain the same, however:
No matter what the career trajectory of my students, the experience they have in the Collections SWAT Team leaves them with a deeper understanding of small museums, historic sites and historical societies. America’s small historical organizations are treasure chests, and too many collections are in jeopardy simply because the folks who are their stewards are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of their cultural patrimony. They get paralyzed by the problems. When we come in begin the process of helping them care for their collections, we both affirm the significance of the objects and documents and suggest that the problems can indeed be managed, if not completely solved.
1. Collections SWAT Team is a wonderful way for Museum Studies students to get hands-on, realworld experience in historical collections. 2. The small historical organizations we help get a terrific jump-start on managing their collections from the infusion of labor, enthusiasm and Our Collections SWAT Team is making a very expertise by these young museum professionals. small dent on this national problem, but we 3. I have a blast. think that we are onto something that can be exported to other colleges and regions. This I know the first two are more important, but it spring, four SWAT alums are undertaking an is the third that keeps me going when the alarm independent study to create a Collections goes off and I pull on my working grubbies and SWAT Team Manual, which we will post on my “Santa’s helper” apron. (Hey, the pockets the Sustaining Places website as a free, keep track of keys, scissors, small tools, my dust downloadable pdf.
"Likes, Tweets..." cont'd Pariticipants were encouraged to think about the ways their social media presence could bolster the visibility of their museum websites and encourage a dialogue with their visitors and the larger community. Due to the popularity of this workshop, Sustaining Places will be repeating it this spring. For Round 2 of the workshop, Rebecca Lawrence will be joined by Jennifer Manning, Marketing Coordinator at The Lewes Historical Society, and will provide more details and show participants how to create profiles on different social media platforms. We want to hear from you! Head to our Facebook page and let us know how your museum or cultural organization uses social media! 2
Upcoming Sustaining Places Workshop: Managing Volunteers Small museums rely heavily on the support of dedicated volunteers who serve a variety of roles for the museum. But how do you evaluate your volunteer program? In this two-part workshop, Susan Ellis, President of Energize, Inc., and Susan Randolph, Executive Director of the Marshall Steam Museum and Friends of Auburn Heights, Inc.,will help you assess and improve your volunteer program and plan for the future. The two-part workshop will be held on April 22 and May 13 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA. Registration for this two-part workshop is open. Hope to see you there! Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Winter 2013
Alumni Profile: Douglas Conley, MSST 2006 Doug Conley entered the Longwood Program at the University of Delaware with ten+ years of professional experience as a horticulturalist and assistant superintendant. As a graduate student in public horticulture, Conley appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with other grad students outside of the Longwood program during his museum studies courses. Looking back, the Historic Properties course still stands out in his mind as being particularly beneficial. Conley also participated in the Environmental Insitution Management course offered through the Delaware Nature Society over winter session. The course has a broad scope and Conley found the range of topics, from grant writing to leadership strategies to marketing, was relevant to any emerging professional as "all nonprofits have similar issues." Be aware of opportunities that will help you develop professionally. Do not overlook smaller opportunities to build up your resume.
Doug currently serves as the Director of Landscapes at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, MI.
The Longwood and museum studies program also left him feeling well prepared to handle donor relations and stewardship. His experiences working with the Delaware Nature Society and the Brandywine Conservancy not only provided him with the opportunity to continue to build his skill set, but these experiences also allowed him to develop strong relationships with leaders at these organizations. In his current position, Doug leads the care, preservation, and restoration of the 87 acres landscape as the Ford House is currently researching and returning the gardens back to its original collection and design. As for emerging museum professionals, think about "where you want to be eventually and what steps you need to take to get there." It is important to "know your desire."
Check out equipment through the Sustaining Places Media & Collections Care Lending Library Wanna shoot a video at your historic site? Create a podcast for your museum? Clean the historic textiles in your collection? The Sustaining Places Media & Collections Care Lending Library has tri-pods, laptops, lighting kits, digital cameras, HD video cameras, podcasting stations, climate control monitors, a variable speed Hepa vacuum, and professional development books available for you to check out for two weeks at a time. Reserve equipment now by e-mailing Sustaining Places at email@example.com or calling (302) 831-1251.
Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Winter 2013
SWAT 2013, con't from pg. 1
SWAT 2013 participants Nicole Belolan, Emily Miller, and Kevin Impellizeri tweeted on location as they worked with the collections at Vineland. Team, led by Nicole Belolan, photographed, catalouged, and rehoused over 300 pieces of clothing (75 of those were cleaned using our HEPA vacuum). Textiles that had been stored inside wooden crates and cardboard boxes and on mannequins and forms were rehoused in more stable plastic boxes with acid-free tissue paper. One of our SWAT team members, Tim Pouch, a graduate student in historic preservation, created a curatorial workroom out of a storeroom by breaking down shelving units. Overall, our team put in over 1,000 hours of work and it did not go unnoticed. The Daily Journal included an article and photo slideshow of our students at work and Ruben Bermudez, the mayor of Vineland, also visited the site and looked on as students continued working. On February 12th, our team was recognized by the Vineland City Council and the mayor awarded us with certificates of Community Service. SWAT serves as an opportunity for graduate students to get hands-on experience in a museum environment as they are asked to improvise, solve problems, and think quick on their feet. Team members learned valuable lessons and posted about their experiences working with the collection on our program blog. For Nicole, "As coordinator of the costume inventorying and cataloguing, I gained more experience supervising others with limited or no experience working with historic textiles." Tyler Putman was able to use his knowledge of war uniforms to help catalog World War II garments and other pieces of war memorabilia. Gabrielle Vicari gained significant experience in collections care - from assessing to photographing and cataloging. We are already thinking ahead in regards to possible SWAT locations for 2014. If you are a small museum, historical society, or cultural institution intersted in bringing the UD MSST SWAT team to your location, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading "Potential SWAT Location." Lee Roueche and Alexandra Mairs-Kessler take measurements of a flag in the collection. 4
by Stephanie Lampkin email@example.com Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Winter 2013
Our team hit the road for the 2013 Small Museum Association Conference The 2013 conference in Ocean City, MD on Feb. 17-19th had a strong turnout - about 250 museum professionals all at various stages in their careers attended. The theme this year was "superheroes" and the sessions ranged in topics which included multitasking, working with the National Park Service, managing your museum career, museum demographics in the 21st century, and museum volunteers. During the wine and cheese reception held in the Museum Resource Hall, our team dished out information about the program and our grantfunded project, Sustaining Places. We were able to pick up new subscribers to our e-newsletters and many onlookers were impressed by the work of our SWAT team. Our team, who came prepared with their resumes and business cards, went from table to table to pick up free goodies and exchange contact information with different museums, historical societies, and cultural institutions including the American Alliance of Museums, PastPerfect Software, Inc., the Middletown Historical Society, History Press, and Hollinger Metal Edge. We also ran into plenty of friendly faces including UD MSST alumna Jesse Gagnon (2012) and Robin Valencia (2011). As seen in the line-up of sessions, museums are routinely looking for ways to reach out to their communities, brainstorm new strategies to bring in diverse audiences, create engaging programs, partner with government agencies in order to fund programs or seek other development opportunities,
and build an efficient corps of volunteers. Many of the sessions led to lively discussions. One in particular, "Exploring the Effect of Volunteers on Museum Professionals" by Colleen Walters from the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum, led to a dynamic discussion about the role volunteers should play in the museum. Maintaining a strong volunteer program is essential for museums and for those who are looking to revamp their volunteer program, Sustaining Places will offer a two part workshop on Managing Volunteers (see pg. 2 for details). One of our own also served as a presenter. Della Hall, a UD MSST graduate student and resident HistoryPin expert, delivered a presentation to a packed room. She walked participants through the HistoryPin site and showed them how to load and "pin" images from their museum's photo collections onto the HistoryPin map. At the end of her talk, she left enough time for participants to test out the program for themselves. Overall, the conference was a success: grad students walked away with new contacts and there was plenty of time for fun as we designed our superhero costumes for the costumed banquet. On the drive back to Delaware, our team was still discussing what we had learned during the sessions we attended and began to brainstorm solutions to problems. For those who attended - what session topics would you like to see in the program for the 2014 conference? You can share your thoughts on our Facebook page. If you missed the conference this year or would like access to the information shared during the sessions, head over to the Small Museum Association blog where they have posted powerpoints from the sessions.
UD grad students at SMA. Left to right: Della Hall, Stephanie Lampkin, Gretchen Pruett, Nicole Belolan, Lee Roueche, Lydia Blackmore, and Kelsey Ransick.
by Stephanie Lampkin firstname.lastname@example.org
Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Winter 2013
Coming Soon! The UD MSST HistoryPin Channel
In an effort to reconnect with our alumni and document the history of the UD Museum Studies Program, we have launched our own HistoryPin channel. For those unfamiliar with HistoryPin, it serves as a platform for anyone in the community to share their family or community history by "pinning" photos to a Google map. Della inspired us to create our own channel after we viewed the collections and tours she created for Hagley Museum and Library. On our channel we have created two collections: History of the UD Museum Studies Program and Internship Sites. The second channel serves as an opportunity for current graduate students to see where alumni have served as interns and encourages them to reach out to these alumni and build connections. HistoryPin is collaborative so our alumni will have the opportunity to go in, "pin" themselves, and share any additional information about their internship experiences! We are currently continuing to compile information but our channel will be published soon so stay tuned!
University of Delaware Upcoming Events Spring 2013 The Student Multimedia Center at the Morris Library has two workshops of interest for museum studies students. 4/5: Introduction to Digital Animation Techniques 4/8: Adobe Premiere Pro The Museum Studies Program will hold a SWAT Team Potluck Award Ceremony on April 5th at 77 E. Main St. from 5 pm to 7:30 pm. RSVP at slampkin@udel. edu. The Museum Studies Program will host The Alternate Career Paths Forum in the Munroe Conference Room on May 15th from 3pm to 5pm. The University of Delawareâ€™s Institute for Global Studies (IGS) will host Fulbright Scholar information sessions on Monday, April 8, from 3:30-4:30 p.m., and Tuesday, April 9, from 10-11 a.m., in the IGS conference room in Elliott Hall. 6
The Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware 77 East Main Street | Newark, DE 19711 (302) 831-1251 http://www.udel.edu/museumstudies email@example.com Katherine (Kasey) Grier, Director Tracy Jentzsch, Staff Assistant Kelsey Ransick, Graduate Assistant Gretchen Pruett, Graduate Assistant Stephanie Lampkin, Graduate Assistant
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Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Winter 2013